About the Gospel of Judas (1)

Friday April 7, 2006

I would like to talk to someone about the Gospel of Judas that is in the news. What is going to happen (what is happening) to Christianity, and is there any part in it for me? I don’t know who to ask to contact. Bertram is closest, I suppose. For a silly moment I was thinking, Bertram, that you couldn’t help because you wouldn’t know what’s going on in modern times.

A reminder of how others see our lives. If you are able to disturb the idea that the past is dead and the dead are past, it will be a valuable contribution.

Yes, I can see that. I really was casting about. I didn’t feel I could call on Jesus, and considered [Saint] Columba, but it all seemed too close to what somebody called autograph-collecting.

Unnecessary. You have within you connections to all, as all are one being – but it is unnecessary to go to the most exalted or even the most outré for information. Someone close to you will always have it, or will be able to get it.

This tempts me to start a discussion of spirit guides, and all that, but let’s first talk about the Gospel of Judas and what if anything it means to the church, to society, and to what I really care about, which is the regeneration of people’s access to the underlying world, the source of our being.

You do realize that you verge on asking for prophecy. “What will happen?”

An old bad habit of mine. All right.

It is a habit rooted in the idea that there “will be” one future, that may be discerned. You have somewhat adopted and adjusted to the idea that there are multiple (indeed, essentially infinite) futures, all of which exist, as all presents and all pasts exist, “in potential” seen one way; “in reality” seen another way.

There is usually little point in predicting a future; never any point, really, save to offer insight into the tendencies of present behavior or to prepare people psychologically for coming events that are in practical terms not avoidable. Prophets, as you yourself have pointed out more than once, predict not in order to gloat but in order to persuade. They don’t want people to suffer, they want them to repent. If they will change course, they will visit a different future. It is all in the Book of Jonah.

Now, from that understanding of the words “future” and what “will” happen, we can talk about Judas.

Is it so hard to see that there is something wrong with the simplest ideas about Judas?

Jesus could penetrate to the core of a person’s being with a glance. He could tell them their past or future; he could tell them what was in their hearts. How can a man like that be betrayed?

Is it possible that Jesus did not see at a glance what Judas was in his inmost soul? Is it possible that he did not sense every change in those around him as they moved day by day? Is it possible that he did not see every nuance in any of the futures available?

How can a man like that be betrayed? He wasn’t surprised, and he wasn’t deceived. And he wasn’t a bad judge of character, either!

So – the melodrama is out. It is not the case that Jesus picked a dozen men and one of them was a traitor. (For that matter it wasn’t just a dozen, and they weren’t only men.)

What scenario next, then? That it was a mystery play, set up and enacted, and someone had to play the bad guy?

Suppose that were true. Would it in some way aid Jesus’ teachings to have him betrayed?

Suppose further that Jesus’ entire life was a mystery play, which is a perfectly acceptable view. If you step away from what you have been taught all these years, is it likely that crucifixion was a necessary part of that story?

Jesus came to bring life, that we might have life more abundantly. He referred to God as his father. Do you think it likely that he could think that God required a death by torture in order to bring humans into line?

And, if he did not, then in what way would crucifixion assist him to carry his message?

If you had never heard of the crucifixion, would you think it a logical end to the career of a man who had superhuman abilities and perceptions? Who came to bring access to life more abundant? Who came to give people courage?

Well, it is a fearful thing to go against history. You can feel it in yourself, writing this, arguing. “There must have been a crucifixion; too many of the apostles died in similar ways, and Christians in general over the next generations.” True and not true. Jesus dying on the cross made a wonderful inspiration for those who suffer and are treated unjustly. His betrayal by church authorities [temple authorities] to the Romans makes a good parable about the corruption of ecclesiastical organizations that have political power.

But?

You are conflicted. The resurrection, the Pentecost, the change in the apostles, all that in Acts. It seems to you to cut directly across the idea of no crucifixion.

Yes it does.

Enough for now. Ponder.

 

4 thoughts on “About the Gospel of Judas (1)

  1. Wow! Are they saying Jesus didn’t
    die on the cross because it would
    serve no real purpose? Never heard
    that before. Just wanted to check if I
    was reading too much into what was
    said.

    Thanks again. Reading the 3rd Rita book
    for the 3rd time.

  2. I think Seth said the same thing about there being no crucifixion, though he knew people would have a hard time with it.
    JaneP

  3. I’ve always thought that Judas and his motivations were misunderstood. It seemed he was the only disciple who actually got who and what Jesus was. His flaw was a different vision of what Jesus should be doing. Judas wanted Jesus to liberate the nation from the Romans. Seeing that Jesus’ kingdom was one of love for all of humanity, he decided to throw Jesus into the breech, forcing him to save himself by calling down God’s help. Maybe he reasoned that God would smite the Romans or something. It didn’t work out that way, or at least that’s the way the story goes. Or that’s the timeline we’re currently experiencing. Who knows?

    As to the meaning of Jesus’ death and how the early church tried to explain why their why their leader had been crucified by the Romans — a death usually reserved for insurrectionists — that is a question that theologians have wrestled with for ages. Soteriology is a study of religious doctrines of salvation. Yep, that’s plural, as Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and others will understand this topic differently.

    Bounced over to WikiPedia to see their write up on Judas. Good read. They mentioned that some later writing indicated that it was Judas, not Jesus, who had been crucified, as Jesus had ascended without dying.

    Will be interested in tomorrow’s post.

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